With Father’s Day approaching and around 94.1% of married dads working compared to 72.7% of married moms, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on Best & Worst States for Working Dads in 2024.

To help dads balance their dual roles as parent and provider, WalletHub compared the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia across 21 key indicators of friendliness toward working dads. The data set ranges from the average length of the work day for men to childcare costs to the share of men in good or better health.

Biggest Issues Facing Working Dads Today

“Working dads want to spend more time with their families. In many workplaces, policies are lacking to allow dads to have flexible hours or remote work. At the same time, many dads have work that does not lend itself to working at home. If more workplaces had policies that allowed time off for family activities, there would be more productive workers and stronger families,” said Rob Weisskirch, MSW, Ph.D., professor; department chair, Human Development, California State University Monterey Bay.

“The biggest issue facing working families is affordable, high-quality childcare. This one factor affects several decisions, such as how much leave parents will take, who will take it, the length of a reasonable commute, and whether they are going to stay with or leave their employers. While historically seen as problems for mothers alone, modern families see this as a puzzle to solve as a family unit,” said Sharon Belden Castonguay, executive director, of Gordon Career Center, Wesleyan University.

How Young Fathers Strike Balance Between Career and Family

“Striking the right balance between career and family is challenging for all parents, particularly young fathers. Effective time management, which includes setting boundaries, is critical. Prioritizing tasks, establishing clear communication with both their employer and partner, and understanding the needs of their child/children helps create that balance,” said Laura Bloom, Ph.D., CFLE, associate professor; faculty director, Child Study Center; director, Certified Family Life Education Program, University of Montevallo.

“Nowadays, most people have a career that zigzags – gone are the notions of working your way up in a single company by putting in the hours in the office and outside the office in work socializing. With the advent of technology, and especially during the pandemic, many people realized that work is always there. You can work at various times from your phone at home or on the go. Family time happens on a different schedule. So, young fathers may aim to be present when kids are awake and want their attention, and perhaps rearrange work after the kids go to bed—rather than engaging in work around family time. Being with family means shutting off the phone, tablet, or video game console,” Weisskirch said.

Impact of Fathers Working from Home and the Role of Caring for Children and Housework

“Even before the pandemic, fathers in traditional households (with a husband and a wife) engaged in more hours per week of housekeeping and childcare than did those of prior generations. But for parents working from home, the challenge will be to protect the time they need to be focused on their work while also allowing for the flexibility that makes this arrangement appealing for so many working families. This requires careful calibration and open lines of communication between family members,” Belden Castonguay said.

“Research shows that fathers are spending more time with their families and in caregiving than before. In particular, more dads are engaging in leisure time activities with their children. This pattern means that dads are less likely to play basketball on their own but rather are bringing their kids to do things together. Despite more fathers being involved, they still do not do as much housework and caregiving as mothers do. In addition, mothers tend to carry more of the emotional labor for families than fathers do. For things to change, fathers need to take over more emotional labor and do the carpool arranging, meal planning, laundry folding, and organizing activities ceded to mothers,” Weisskirch said.

Source: WalletHub